Departed early from Culasi, we headed to Tibiao via Ceres bus. Any bus bound south (San Jose or Iloilo) will pass Tibiao. Tibiao is a municipality of Antique right next to Culasi. After around 30 minutes of ride is the intersection to Barangay Importante of Tibiao.
There are plenty of motorcycles you can ride going to Barangay Tuno, where the famous kawa hot baths near the river are known. An entrance fee will be collected from the visitors upon entering the barangay premise. Visitors also need to fill the visitors log. A local guide is a must if you want to further explore the place and visit their known waterfalls.
There are plenty of accommodations in the barangay, majority offers their own version of kawa hot bath. One of the famous accommodations is Kayak Inn, but it is quite expensive for our budget and as per locals, it is managed by a foreigner. We stayed in La Escapo. They offer cheap accommodations, food and bath rates, and they also are very hospitable. The place is owned by the barangay captain Mendito Amar. They offer cheap rates to further attract visitors for their tourism.
Settled on their cozy hut, we waited for the sun to mellow before proceeding with the trek to the waterfalls. For the mean time, we enjoyed the cold and clean river just at the side of the huts. We managed to wash our used clothes on the river just like the locals do.
We started our trek with our local guide by 3 PM. After 30 minutes of trekking, we witnessed the raw beauty of Bugtong Bato falls. The falls has three levels. There were local kids enjoying the waters. It was a relief witnessing the the falls isn’t highly commercialized yet. I can only wish that future visitors keep it as clean and untouched as it is. Going to the upper levels of the falls is another story. One must conquer his/her fear of heights as the path can be 80 degrees steep and can get slippery as well. Extra caution must be observed since medical help would take hours to come.
As we trekked back, I realized how lucky the locals are. The barangay is a self-sustaining community. They have their own rice fields. They are blessed with abundant fruits that they can just pick whenever. They are blessed with clean free flowing waters from the rivers and springs. They are far from the city pollution. They have seen variety set of exotic animals and they are away from the toxic environment of technology. By the way, there are almost no cellular signals on the barangay. That is why we were able to fully set our eyes on our surroundings and immerse ourselves with nature which I believe restarted our body clock.
When we got back to our huts, we saw the barangay captain himself leading the preparation of our hot baths. The kawa were once used in making muscovado sugar, thus having the reason of the size. They filled the kawa with waters from the spring. They put herbs and flowers which produces aromatic and therapeutic oils. The water temperature was good for unclogging the pores. The bath is very soothing and relaxing for the tight and tired muscles. The sunset view and the ambient sound of the river adds to your healing experience.
Sleeping after the bath was very relaxing. With the ambient sound of the province and the cool natural free-flowing air, without any air conditioning system or fans, we can’t help but get drowsy early.
Early morning of the next day, we departed and said our thanks and goodbyes to the people of La Escapo. The tricycle we arranged the day before is already waiting for us. We departed to Barangay Importante intersection by 8AM and waited for our ride to our next destination.
- 10:00 ETD from Culasi via Ceres bus (around 40php)
- 10:30 ETA in Brgy. Importante intersection
- 10:45 ETD from Brgy. Importante to Brgy. Tuno via motorcycle (70php)
- 11:00 ETA in Brgy. Tuno (50php entrance fee)
- Enjoyed everything till dozing off
- 8:00 (the next day) ETA back to Barangay Importante